This past year, Congress approved legislation to reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant programs, and the United States Fire Administration. In addition, Congress approved the tax bill that included major provisions of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. It took us 15 years but we were finally able to convince Congress to take action on this measure.
The fire service prevails when Congress hears our voices. This is why we encourage you to join your colleagues in Washington, DC on April 18-19 for the 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner. 2017 was a successful year for the fire service in Washington, DC with the passage of these and other pieces of legislation. But our work is not finished, nor is it ever finished. While authorization measures are very important, each year we must convince Congress to appropriate funding for our programs, including AFG/SAFER and USFA. And there are always other important measures that demand our attention.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act is one such measure (H.R.931 and S.382). Introduced by Representatives Chris Collins and Bill Pascrell in the House and Senators Robert Menendez and Lisa Murkowski in the Senate, the bill would create a national cancer registry specifically for firefighters that would be managed by the Center for Disease Control to improve data collection and research on cancer in firefighters.
Having 1,500 fire service leaders in Washington, DC dressed in uniform and walking the halls of Congress over a two-day period has a profound impact on members of Congress and the decisions they make. With pressure mounting to control federal spending due to a rising debt, we cannot be complacent or make assumptions about continued support; we must remain active, making our voices always heard on Capitol Hill.
CFSI is a privately-funded organization. We have taken great pride in our work throughout the years to preserve the AFG and SAFER grant programs that have delivered nearly $12 billion in grants to your departments. CFSI has never applied for a grant because we believe these funds can have the greatest impact at the local level, enabling your departments to purchase new equipment and training, and hiring staff and recruiting and retaining your volunteers. With your support, you can be assured that we will continue to advocate for you and your fellow firefighters to ensure that you have the training and equipment needed to perform your missions safely and effectively.
Please visit our website at www.cfis.org to learn more about the 30th Annual National Fire and Emergency Services Symposium and Dinner if you haven’t already registered. We hope you can join your peers and us and help us make a difference for our nation’s fire and emergency services.